Add Bonnie Braaten to the list of people who are confused by Amanda Bynes’ actions on Monday night. The homeowner whose driveway was allegedly set on fire by the actress has spoken out about her confusion over the bizarre incident outside her Thousand Oaks, California home.
“I have no idea what she was doing,” Braaten told US Weekly, noting that she’s been told that Bynes’ parents live nearby. “I don’t even think she has an idea what she was doing.”
Braaten told the magazine that she was in a back bedroom watching TV at the time of the incident and came on the scene after the fire had been put out by a neighbor. An eyewitness told her that the flames rose five feet in the air and that there were two different fires, which were reported to sheriff’s officials as arson.
Bynes, 27, was placed on an involuntary 72-hour psychiatric hold
by California’s sheriff’s deputies on Monday night after she reportedly set the fires.
Braaten’s neighbor, Bruno Corsi, told the magazine that he extinguished the fire, which he discovered after hearing a disturbance while working in his garage. He emerged to see “a bunch of teenage kids who were trying to stop the fire.” He described seeing a woman with “long blonde hair … sitting on the sidewalk.” Bynes has been spotted lately wearing a long blonde wig.
“There was a gas can, a two- or three-gallon container,” he said. “It was melting. If it were metal, it would have exploded, but it was plastic. [There were] four- or five-feet flames.” According to TMZ, the person who called 911 to report the fire described it as a small blaze sparked by a flaming cloth sitting on top of a gas can in a driveway.
An eyewitness told reporters that he saw Bynes lying down near the driveway with her left pant leg on fire and that she said her dog had been burned by the flames. He then described a scene in which Bynes ran out into a busy street and hailed a cab while he attempted to stop her from fleeing the scene after realizing who she was. “My dog has been burned, please let go of me, I’m going to call 911,” the eyewitness said Bynes told him, as he clutched a phone on which he had called emergency services to report the fire.
TMZ also posted surveillance footage from a nearby liquor store purportedly showing Bynes cradling her gasoline-soaked, singed dog and heading for an “employees only” area in an attempt to wash the gasoline off the pet. The store’s cashier reportedly confronted Bynes, who then left the store without incident.
Braaten said she found out about the fire after the sheriff rang her doorbell and explained that Bynes was “incapable of giving good answers” to their questions about the fires and that she never saw the actress, who was taken into custody before Braaten came out of her house.
At press time, officials have not given an update on Bynes’ condition or said when she might be released from her psychiatric hold.